This week, the UN Climate Change Conference in Egypt is highlighting the dangers to our planet and, among other things, our food systems. It was noted that while smallscale farmers, like the farmers of SANGO-Kenya, do little to contribute to climate change, they pay a high price as a result.
We see the price our farmers pay every day.
Unreliable rains, water scarcity affect all
Over the past few weeks, I have visited so many farmers with our Project Officer Winnie and Field Agriculture Officer Peter. The SANGO-Kenya farmers are so impacted by climate change, especially unreliable rainfall. This time of year, during the short rains, the impact is even greater, and every conversation includes water, or, more to the point, water scarcity because the rains are so erratic.
Some farmers, like the one above, live close enough to a source of water that they can walk a relatively short distance, collect the water, and carry it back to their farms. Even the relatively lucky farmers, such as this one, make at least 10-20 trips per day. Others are not so fortunate. They must walk much farther to get the water, or buy it, sometimes even having to pay for delivery.
Their determination is inspiring
Despite all this, they are as so determined — to continue to work with us so they can learn new ways of farming and feeding their families. Determined to improve their food and nutrition security — and that of their children.
And we at SANGO-Kenya are determined to continue to work with the farmers to find new ways to help them. As we have been visiting the farms, it has been incredibly exciting to see first-hand the multi-story gardens I wrote about previously, to see how many vegetables these small containers can provide! And hear from the farmers how these gardens have helped them, how they harvest them several times per week to feed their families.
Some farmers have as many as three or four — one farmer had six! And most plan to make more. They provide so many vegetables in such a small space and are right by their houses, so they just step outside to gather vegetables for dinner.Perhaps most importantly, they require so much less water than crops in the ground. Some farmers have even said that they will plant fewer crops in the ground next year, preferring instead to plant more multi-story gardens.
Perhaps most importantly, they require so much less water than crops in the ground. Some farmers have even said that they will plant fewer crops in the ground next year, preferring instead to plant more multi-story gardens.
Hope, concern, strength
This week, we were accompanied on our farm visits by Etan Rozin, a great supporter of SANGO-Kenya since our very first days — and a wonderful photographer. He was last here in March of 2020, when we were just starting the program, and it was so interesting to listen to his impressions as we visited the farmers.
“When I was here in 2020, there were only 19 farmers, it was just training. They hadn’t even begun farming yet, only the demonstration farm. It’s incredible to see how much SANGO-Kenya has done. You can see it all in the farmers’ faces — their hopes and their concerns. And their strength.”
There is so much more to tell, and I will over the next weeks. However, I didn’t want more time to pass without sharing some more impressions. I didn’t think it possible, but somehow my admiration for these amazing women continues to grow.
We can’t solve the problems of climate change and the resulting erratic rainfalls. But we can reach more farmers, give them more knowledge and skills so they can have greater control over their lives to strengthen their food and nutrition security and that of their families. And we can’t do any of it without your continued generous support of SANGO-Kenya.
SANGO-Kenya farmers, Winnie, Peter, Maurice, Constance, and Kit
Your generosity has made all of SANGO-Kenya’s programs possible. Your tax-deductible donation today will help SANGO-Kenya continue to recruit, train, and support more farmers so they can improve their nutrition, food, and economic security for themselves and their families. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution. Thank you.
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Write me! I love hearing from you! kit@SANGO-Kenya.org